Durbin, Feinstein Statement On Trump Admin Decision To Slash Refugee Resettlement Goal To Lowest Level In History

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after the Trump Administration announced that it will aim to admit just 15,000 refugees to the U.S. in the coming year, the lowest target in history:

“In the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history, it is no surprise that the Trump Administration has dropped America’s moral standing to a new low by setting a refugee admissions goal of only 15,000—the lowest target in history.  

“With this cruel decision, America has abandoned its leadership role in providing safety to refugees who are most in need of resettlement.  The Administration’s actions are a shameful betrayal of our longstanding bipartisan tradition of generosity and strength and accomplish nothing except failing to protect innocent victims of persecution who pose no threat to our security and have turned to America for safety.

“President Trump has harsher words for innocent refugees than for the dictators they are escaping.”

Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States resettled an average of more than 80,000 refugees per year.  However, the Trump Administration has set the annual refugee admissions target at embarrassingly low numbers for four years in a row.  In Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, the Administration set a target of 45,000 refugees and ultimately allowed just 22,507 refugees into the United States.  In FY 2019, the Administration slashed the target to just 30,000, which was the number of refugees ultimately admitted.  Last fiscal year, the Administration set a target of only 18,000 refugees.  As of September 25, 2020, the Administration had admitted just 10,892 refugees for FY20.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were more than 79 million people displaced worldwide at the end of 2019, a record high.  Among this displaced population are 26 million refugees – the highest number in history – more than half of whom are children.  UNHCR estimates that 1.4 million refugees are in urgent need of resettlement.